Pure wiki deletion system (proposal)
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For discussion about implementing this on en.wikipedia, please see en:Wikipedia:Pure wiki deletion system
On this page, users are attempting to develop a specific, serious, detailed proposal for what they believe will be a more transparent, less bureaucratic, and more consensus-driven deletion system than that currently operating on Wikipedia. Please only edit this page if you are modifying or adding to the proposal, or improving its wording. If you wish to discuss the proposal or to make a suggestion how it could be improved, please go to the talk page. If you wish to discuss the wider question of whether such reform is necessary or desirable, please go to Talk:Strengths and weaknesses of the current deletion system.
- see also History of wiki deletion process
"If we have fights about deleted pages, then I think the best thing to do is to implement some form of nondestructive delete. But, better to just not fight in the first place. :-)" - Jimmy Wales, 2002-03-26 23:23:33 GMT
The instigators of this proposal perceive a number of serious problems with the current system for deleting Wikipedia articles (see Strengths and weaknesses of the current deletion system). They consider that the problems arise because the centralised, bureaucratic system currently in use does not mesh well with the highly decentralised and devolved mechanisms of Wikipedia. Stated simply, they consider that we should have more faith in the wiki system.
The rapid growth and high quality of Wikipedia are testament to the efficiency and effectiveness of the decentralised, reversible, transparent "wiki" process. All article-related decisions in Wikipedia are made using this process, with one exception - deletion. It is not entirely clear why this should be so.
To enable deletion decisions to be made using the same decentralised, reversible, transparent "wiki" process that is used successfully for every other article-related decision on Wikipedia.
The central pillar of the proposal is one small change in the software:
- Links to blank articles will appear the same as links to non-existent articles.
Blank pages will appear to all intents and purposes if they didn't exist, except there will be a link to their history on the page. (as is now the case, except that the specific revisions are still hidden from non-admins.)
Anybody will be able to delete any page, simply by clearing all the text from it. Similarly, anybody will be able to revive any page by entering new text into it (as is the case now) or by reverting to an earlier version from before it was deleted (currently only possible if you are an administrator).
A page that has just been deleted will be specially marked on the "recent changes" page and on users' watch-lists; links to it will stand out as an "edit link"(i.e. a redlink).
The current deletion feature will remain, but its use will be limited to a specific set of cases, like the current en:Wikipedia:Criteria for Speedy Deletion(maybe called the Criteria for Full Deletion). This would include copyright infringements and other legal necessities, as well as any other cases the community decided to add to the list.
There would be a 'Special:Log/blanked' page logging deletion/blankings (as there is now for moves, deletions, account creation, etc.) which users could track to spot vandalism; this would be necessary both to avoid negating the utility of existing things like Special:Shortpages, and to allow users to track for vandalism by deletion of less-frequented pages.
- Blanked pages will not disappear from users' watch-lists or contribution histories. When a user blanks a page, this will stand out on "recent changes" and users' watch-lists as an edit link.
- As with blank pages currently, anybody will be able to examine the full history of the deleted page. As with the current system, anyone can restore part or all of the deleted text, or write a completely new article.
- When a user follows a link to a deleted page, the page will behave the same way that blanked pages do now, except there will be an additional message, reading:
- "A former version of this article was deleted by [USER NAME/IP] on [DATE]. The reason given for deletion was [EDIT SUMMARY]. You may view the article's history, edit the last version, or type new article into the white space below."
Code changes needed
- The blanking or unblanking of a page would be logged, and listed on watchlists and recent changes like the other logs(the move log, the protection log, etc.)
- Blanked pages will not show up in searches using Special:Search, random pages using Special:Randompage, or the list of all pages using Special:Allpages.
- The URL prefix to the page will be listed in robots.txt, and the page will emit "noarchive" and "noindex" and "nofollow" tags, to prevent caching in search engines.
- This is to prevent the engines from even indexing a blank page, which might otherwise have quite a high rank due to links.
- Currently, redlinks are not indexed by search engines because all links to them point to http://en.wikipedia.org/w/ type addreses, rather than http://en.wikipedia/wiki/ and all /w/ addresses are nofollow'ed.
Policy, guideline changes needed
- A list of Criteria for Full Deletion; i.e. what can be deleted conventionally, hiding it from non-admins, etc.
- Clarifying the dispute resolution process in regards to deletion (i.e. how to deal with deletion wars). Suggestions:
- Blankings and unblankings should be always be subject to the 3RR, unless used to revert or remove simple vandalism.
- A certain standard for edit summaries should be declared, and blankings with edit summaries not meeting that standard should be revertable as simple vandalism.